I was nursing my cappuccino and munching on a ham and cheese panini at a café along Marylebone High Street yesterday when a man hovered over me and spoke to me in heavily accented English.
"Are you a Chinese?"
I was dumbfounded and nodded my head hesitatingly. Bad mistake.
"You hang an English and then come over and eat English food, what is this?" And he walked out of the café.
The café owner was suitably apologetic and came over and ranted about how Britain should emulate China and execute all drug traffickers.
I was more amused than not by the entire incident - the man who made the comment in the first place is of African descent, the café owner is of Indian descent and the only other person in the café was the waitress who is an Eastern European and of course there was me. From the accents, it was quite clear that none of us are native English. And the entire incident arose due to a country's policy that we have absolutely no affiliation to.
Then again, Singapore hangs anyone who carries more than 18g of heroin. Akmal Shaikh, who was executed in China was found carrying 4kg. If anyone has got any problem with Singapore's policy, you could either refrain from carrying illegal drugs into Singapore or lodge a formal protest at the Singapore embassy. You can certainly google the address online, the one in London isn't hard to find.
For the record, I am not a Chinese. I am a Singaporean. I say that even though Singapore's founding father, the current Minister Mentor Lee Kwan Yew made his thoughts quite clear on National Geographic Jan 2010 issue about the hardworking Chinese immigrants and the less driven Singaporeans of whom males have to serve 2 - 2.5 years of National Service.
"Over time, the MM says, Singaporeans have become "less hard-driving and hard-striving." This is why it is a good thing, the MM says, that the nation has welcomed so many Chinese immigrants (25 percent of the population is now foreign-born). He is aware that many Singaporeans are unhappy with the influx of immigrants, especially those educated newcomers prepared to fight for higher paying jobs. But taking a typically Darwinian stance, the MM describes the country's new subjects as "hungry," with parents who "pushed the children very hard." If native Singaporeans are falling behind because "the spurs are not stuck into the hide," that is their problem."
~ National Geographic Jan 2010